CORVALLIS - From Mom's earliest dinner table advice to the myriad of studies that now pervade the media, it seems like we're always being told by somebody to eat our fruits and vegetables. But do fruits and vegetables really make a difference in health y living?

The role of nutrition in human health and the dietary changes that we can make to improve our health will be the focus of the 60th annual Oregon State University Biology Colloquium held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25.

The colloquium, "Micronutrients, Phytochemicals and Optimal Health: The Biology of Nutrition in the 21st Century," will be held in Austin Auditorium at LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public.

Seven international experts in the role of diet in human health will help the audience better understand the direction and targets for current scientific research in the fields of micronutrients and phytochemicals. These speakers will explain how oppor tunities exist to inhibit cancer, heart disease and other illnesses through better nutrition.

"This is a great opportunity for people to learn first-hand from the experts how changes in the diet can lead to better health and what current research is telling us," said Balz Frei, director and endowed chair of OSU's Linus Pauling Institute, which is organizing the colloquium with support from OSU's Marine Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center.

Experts scheduled to speak at the colloquium include:


  • John Erdman Jr., director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, will discuss carotenoids and health.


  • Mark Levine, chief of the Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will discuss vitamin C and optimal health.


  • Balz Frei will discuss anitoxidant vitamins and heart disease and give a concluding summary following the colloquium.


  • Eric B. Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, will discuss micronutrients and coronary heart disease and the use of supplements.


  • Roderick Dashwood, associate professor of environmental and molecular toxicology at the Linus Pauling Institute, will discuss phytochemicals and cancer.


  • Mark P. Mattson, professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of Kentucky, will discuss dietary and genetic factors in age-related neurodegenerative disorders.


  • Darrell G. Medcalf, chief technology officer, HealthComm International., Inc. of Gig Harbor, Wash., will discuss functional foods of the past, present and future.

Wilson C. "Toby" Hayes, vice provost for research at OSU, will give an introduction to the colloquium. Each speaker will talk for about 35 to 40 minutes with 10 to 15 minutes of audience participation and discussion after each talk. A sandwich and drin k lunch will be available for $6 with reservation. Over lunch there will be informal research poster presentations by OSU students and the selection of the top three posters for cash awards.

In conjunction with the colloquium, Tom Hager, author of "Force of Nature: The Life of Linus Pauling," will present a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center. Hager's lecture, "Linus Pauling and the Untold S tory of the Double Helis," is sponsored by OSU's The Valley Library.

Information on the colloquium is available by calling 541-737-5075 or visiting the Linus Pauling Institute web site at

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Ober Tyus, 541-737-5079